Our faithful friends who follow the Julian Calendar celebrated Christmas Tuesday. And thanks to the cold, it seemed more people attended the orthodox services.
The services on January 7th have traditions with much deeper roots than wrapped presents and parties. That’s why many of these parishioners at Saints Peter and Paul Russian Orthodox Church in Scranton enjoy celebrating Christmas after December 25th.
They have time to recover from commercialized Christmas and can focus on what the day is really about.
“Our holy day today of the Nativity of Christ is centered around Christ. You notice that we don’t say ‘season’s greetings’ here in church, we say ‘Christ is born, glorify him.'” said parishioner Michael Senyk.
Once the doors to the sanctuary are shut, they stay that way for the nearly two hour service. On this Christmas Day, the doors kept the cold air out. Temperatures outside were below zero, inside it was a balmy 52 degrees. Still cold enough for folks to keep their coats and hats on during the service.
But, they call it a warm day. Where friends meet with smiles, Saint Nicholas is there, and you say “Merry Christmas”.
“My heart is warm, wamer than it is outside, 98.6 degrees or something like that, my heart is warm,” said Fr. Basil Micek.
Fr. Micek feared that the temperatures outside would hinder attendance at Christmas services. But, actually, it ended up helping attendance.
“I think the weather may have played a role because the school’s were closed and the kids didn’t have to take off from school to come,” Fr. Micek added.
So, there were many more young faces, some as young as 2, taking part in the Christmas service on Washburn Street in Scranton. A sign of hope for the older folks that a tradition already 2,000 years old will continue. After church families head home to break fast, facing the cold. Which they say is traditional, too. I wouldn’t feel like Christmas without it.